I’m Rex Libris. You may remember me from such articles as Calgarian Nights:1001 steps to rebuild your franchise and Jay Feaster: Communist Threat from Within! I’ve been asked to speak to you today about something I’m sure
you’re all worried about: how to cheer for a bad sports team.
you’re like me you’ve probably spent time recently cheering for a bad sports
team, watching them insult the game with their very presence and humiliate your
once-proud metropolis as they plumb the depths of ineptitude through what
seems like a soul-crushingly eternal exercise in futility.
tried to stay loyal, and have even begun to bolster your flagging fandom by
taking a greater interest in farm teams, drafted prospects, development coaches,
perhaps you’ve even strayed so far as to explore adopting an NCAA or USHL team.
be warned, the perils of cheering for a bad team are almost incalculable. Here’s
1. Advanced Analytics
are those who have forsaken common decency and good Canadian values to
lead lives of dissolute turpitude becoming slavish devotees to the cruel
mistress that is Advanced Analytics and her streetwise data-pushers.
are dark and dangerous places that can lead to a life of debauchery,
delinquency and statistical regression theory. Many young men have given up on
the traditional, good clean fun of yelling rambling obscenities at players from
the stands based on vague impressions formed in an alcoholic fog. These fine
young men became seduced by the desire to pursue a more objective, rational,
and sober opinion of a player’s value to the team by looking at various on-ice metrics.
what a wasted generation of sporting fans who have fallen prey to sites like
Extra Skater and their pornographic Fenwick charts.
what can you do to arm yourself against the pitfalls of cheering for a bad
I’m here to tell you that Modern Science has come to the rescue! Researchers
working at some of the finest laboratories in Wisconsin have discovered that
bad sports teams have a surprisingly high incidence of bad players on them.
an advanced algorithm and other things I prefer not to try and understand,
these researchers have come up with a way of ranking these players, commonly
referred to as “bums”, with a score named the Cherry score and which provides a
ratio labelled bum/60 which can be conveniently plotted on the gritchart.
these are dangerously close to Advanced Stats and therefore should only be
accessed under the supervision of a trained professional. Or in my case, a bookie.
of cheering for a bad team is to carefully intertwine all of your emotional
connections with the organization with expertly crafted illusions. Take
nicknames for instance. A terrible player with a great nickname is easy to
cheer for, once you cloud your senses with nostalgia, incoherent arguments about
potential, and malt liquor.
are a long-cherished tradition within the sporting community. Nothing can help heal
the wound of the desperate humiliation of being a fan of a bad team than to have
a collection of players with terrific nicknames.
from Mickey Mantle to Cal Clutterbuck, there have been some hilariously
creative nicknames for professional athletes. You and your friends can try to
come up with some new nicknames for your favourite players, the coach, even the
training staff and play by play announcers. Hours of fun await!
world wide web can be a large and frightening place, but it doesn’t need to be.
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I digress…there are many wholesome and creative ways to celebrate your love
for your team’s players despite their having only a passing resemblance to
can create a video homage to your team using a popular song and some clips of
their spirited play or perhaps a collection of highlights from one of your
favourite exciting prospects.
you could elevate one of your prospects to near-legendary proportions before
they even play an NHL game. Pick a player who is removed from immediate view
and whose talents play well in small sample sizes and video clips, then
mythologize the living daylights out of them.
is a surefire way to guarantee that when that player arrives at the NHL they
will live up to fan expectations, certainly the alternative is unconceivable.
Mr. Libris, I hear you say, why don’t I just pursue another hobby, or maybe
learn another language?
seriously though, you can’t leave and we both know that. When the team is so
bad that fans are beginning to sing dirges instead of the national anthem and they
raise their hands in the stands not to do the wave but surrender, the only
logical thing to do here is to delve further into the neurotic and
self-destructive behaviour that made you a fan in the first place.
Being a fan of a bad team means finding the bright spots in a season when there are none to be found. Failing that, use all of your mental faculties to identify a scapegoat or conspiracy.
are positives to cheering for a bad team. Tickets are easy to come by. You can
find a great deal on those team jerseys that were once so expensive. Hideously
disfigured and afraid to show your face in public for fear that even stray dogs
would wretch at the sight of you? Nobody will think twice about your wearing a
paper bag to the game!
team has entered what experts call “a rebuild” and the Big Dictionary
of Fancy English Words defines a rebuild as an experience not
unlike a high-colonic – extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing, often appearing
to last longer than it really does and usually ending in an abundance of excrement.
rebuild only appears to go on forever, but in reality it takes only the better
part of your natural life cycle. In the blink of a geological eye your team
will have amassed enough talent and prospects to become a team of
that? Your dignity?
my young friend. If you had any dignity you wouldn’t be spending as much
time as we both know you do scouring hockey websites on the internet.